Mounica's Reviews > Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
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May 13, 10

bookshelves: classics, luuvvved-it, sci-fi, absolute-favorites, 2010, school-reads
Read in June, 2009, read count: 3

"You must understand that our civilization is so vast that we can't have our minorities upset and stirred. Ask yourself, What do we want in this country, above all? People want to be happy, isn't that right? .... Well, aren't they? Don't we keep them moving, don't we give them fun? That's all we live for, isn't it? .... Colored people don't like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don't feel good about Uncle Tom's Cabin. Burn it."

That is exactly the firemen's job in this futuristic, sci-fi book--starting fires to burn books instead of putting out fires. In this society, reading and owning books is a crime. You could get arrested for simply being a pedestrian. Front porches and rocking chairs were removed so people wouldn't be able to sit and talk. But, spending time with your technological parlor wall "family" is encouraged. The people were ignorant of knowledge, creativity, world issues, nature, etc., and were wrapped up in their bubble of shallowness and blindness of the rest of the world. This is the vision in the frightening future that Bradbury portrays.

Guy Montag, the protagonist, is a firemen, and he loves his work, thinking that he is actually doing good to his society. His perspective completely changes as he meets new people, like the innocent 17-year-old girl Clarisse. She teaches Montag to slow down and observe, pay attention. To think.

"I sometimes think drivers don't know what grass is, or flowers, because they never see them slowly," she said. "If you showed a driver a green blur, Oh yes! he'd say, that's grass! A pink blur? That's a rose-garden! White blurs are houses. Brown blurs are cows. My uncle drove slowly on a highway once. He drove forty miles an hour and they jailed him for two days. Isn't that funny, and sad, too?"

"Have you seen the two-hundred-foot-long billboards in the country beyond town? Did you know that once billboards were only twenty feet long? But cars started rushing by so quickly they had to stretch the advertising out so it would last."

"Bet I know something else you don't. There's dew on the grass in the morning."

"And if you look"-she nodded at the sky-"there's a man in the moon."

"Are you happy?" she said.

And, all of a sudden, Montag realizes the wrongdoing of burning books, and his life becomes in danger.

Chilling. Disturbing. Amazing. This book makes you think about life today, and wonder if we may be closer than we think to that grim future in Fahrenheit 451.
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Quotes Mounica Liked

Ray Bradbury
“It was a pleasure to burn.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“Why aren't you in school? I see you every day wandering around."
"Oh, they don't miss me," she said. "I'm antisocial, they say. I don't mix. It's so strange. I'm very social indeed. It all depends on what you mean by social, doesn't it? Social to me means talking to you about things like this." She rattled some chestnuts that had fallen off the tree in the front yard. "Or talking about how strange the world is. Being with people is nice. But I don't think it's social to get a bunch of people together and then not let them talk, do you? An hour of TV class, an hour of basketball or baseball or running, another hour of transcription history or painting pictures, and more sports, but do you know, we never ask questions, or at least most don't; they just run the answers at you, bing, bing, bing, and us sitting there for four more hours of film-teacher. That's not social to me at all. It's a lot of funnels and lot of water poured down the spout and out the bottom, and them telling us it's wine when it's not. They run us so ragged by the end of the day we can't do anything but go to bed or head for a Fun Park to bully people around, break windowpanes in the Window Smasher place or wreck cars in the Car Wrecker place with the big steel ball. Or go out in the cars and race on the streets, trying to see how close you can get to lampposts, playing 'chicken' and 'knock hubcaps.' I guess I'm everything they say I am, all right. I haven't any friends. That's supposed to prove I'm abnormal. But everyone I know is either shouting or dancing around like wild or beating up one another. Do you notice how people hurt each other nowadays?”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“I'm seventeen and I'm crazy. My uncle says the two always go together. When people ask your age, he said, always say seventeen and insane.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“Monday burn Millay, Wednesday Whitman, Friday Faulkner, burn 'em to ashes, then burn the ashes. That's our official slogan.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“Do you ever read any of the books you burn?"
He laughed. "That's against the law!"
"Oh. Of course.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“You're not like the others. I've seen a few; I know. When I talk, you look at me. When I said something about the moon, you looked at the moon, last night. The others would never do that. The others would walk off and leave me talking. Or threaten me. No one has time any more for anyone else. You're one of the few who put up with me. That's why I think it's so strange you're a fireman, it just doesn't seem right for you, somehow.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“That's sad," said Montag, quietly,(referring to The Hound) "because all we put into it is hunting and finding and killing. What a shame if that's all it can ever know.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“They crashed the front door and grabbed at a woman, though she was not running, she was not trying to escape. She was only standing, weaving from side to side, her eyes fixed upon a nothingness in the wall as if they had struck her a terrible blow upon the head. Her tongue was moving in her mouth, and her eyes seemed to be trying to remember something, and then they remembered and her tongue moved again: "Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“How inconvenient! Always before it had been like snuffing a candle. The police went first and adhesive-taped the victim's mouth and bandaged him off into their glittering beetle cars, so when you arrived you found an empty house. You weren't hurting anyone, you were hurting only things! And since things really couldn't be hurt, since things felt nothing, and things don't scream or whimper, as this woman might begin to scream and cry out, there was nothing to tease your conscience later. You were simply cleaning up. Janitorial work, essentially. Everything to its proper place. Quick with the kerosene! Who's got a match!”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“Kerosene," he said, because the silence had lengthened, "is nothing but perfume to me.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“Are you happy?" she [Clarisse] said. "Am I what?" he [Montag] cried. But she was gone- running in the moonlight. Her front door shut gently.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“They walked still farther and the girl said, "Is it true that long ago firemen put fires out instead of going to start them?"
No. Houses have always been fireproof, take my word for it."
Strange. I heard once that a long time ago houses used to burn by accident and they needed firemen to stop the flames.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“So it was the hand that started it all . . . His hands had been infected, and soon it would be his arms . . . His hands were ravenous.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“Have you ever watched the jet cars race on the boulevard?...I sometimes think drivers don’t know what grass is, or flowers, because they never see them slowly...If you showed a driver a green blur, Oh yes! He'd say, that’s grass! A pink blur! That’s a rose garden! White blurs are houses. Brown blurs are cows.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“You're a hopeless romantic," said Faber. "It would be funny if it were not serious. It's not books you need, it's some of the things that once were in books. The same things could be in the 'parlor families' today. The same infinite detail and awareness could be projected through the radios, and televisors, but are not. No,no it's not books at all you're looking for! Take it where you can find it, in old phonograph records, old motion pictures, and in old friends; look for it in nature and look for it in yourself. Books were only one type or receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us. Of course you couldn't know this, of course you still can't understand what i mean when i say all this. You are intuitively right, that's what counts.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“Don't ask for guarantees. And don't look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were heading for shore.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“Live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“And when he died, I suddenly realized I wasn’t crying for him at all, but for the things he did. I cried because he would never do them again, he would never carve another piece of wood or help us raise doves and pigeons in the backyard or play the violin the way he did, or tell us jokes the way he did. He was part of us and when he died, all the actions stopped dead and there was no one to do them the way he did. He was individual. He was an important man. I’ve never gotten over his death. Often I think what wonderful carvings never came to birth because he died. How many jokes are missing from the world, and how many homing pigeons untouched by his hands? He shaped the world. He did things to the world. The world was bankrupted of ten million fine actions the night he passed on.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“What is it about fire that's so lovely? No matter what age we are, what draws us to it?...The thing man wanted to invent, but never did...If you let it go on, it'd burn our lifetimes out. What is fire? It is a mystery. Scientists give us gobbledygook about friction and molecules. But they don't really know. Its real beauty is that it destroys responsibility and consequences.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you'll never learn.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“A book is a loaded gun in the house next door...Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man?”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you're there.

It doesn't matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“The books are to remind us what asses and fool we are. They're Caeser's praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, "Remember, Caeser, thou art mortal." Most of us can't rush around, talking to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven't time, money or that many friends. The things you're looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book. Don't ask for guarantees. And don't look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for shore.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
“The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451


Reading Progress

06/23/2009 page 50
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Hayes (new)

Hayes But, spending time with your technological parlor wall "family" is encouraged. The people were ignorant of knowledge, creativity, world issues, nature, etc, and were wrapped up in their bubble of shallowness and blindness of the rest of the world. This is the vision in the frightening future that Bradbury portrays.

I agree with your last statement... the future is now. Heaven help us.

Great review. I'm going to bump this re-read up the pile a bit.


Christine Willfully self-assumed, with more than a little bit of a push from the higher-ups...yes, the future is now.


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